[Celebrity Cars Collection] John Lennon’s Unusual And Psychedelic 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom

by IndianAuto Team | 04/02/2019
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Starting out almost as an insult to the British elegance, John Lennon’s yellow Rolls-Royce in the end found its way back to England as one of the “Great Eight Phantoms” after spending several years in North America.

John Lennon, the late English singer, songwriter, peace activist, and co-founded the Beatles, the most commercially successful band in the history of popular music till this day and age. On the peak of fame, he said that he wanted to be an eccentric millionaire, and he did just what he said by owning dominantly electric yellow Rolls-Royce Phantom V. The car was so iconic that the British car company decided to include the car in its exhibition of “Great Eight Phantoms”, where Rolls-Royce Phantoms owned by the likes of Fred Astaire and Queen Elizabeth II were celebrated and put on display.

Rolls Royce Phantom V black front look

John Lennon's Phantom was originally glossy black

Later that year, John Lennon had the car modified with a long 7-page list of requirements. The back seats were turned into a double bed that had massive ashtrays on the armrests. The hooter was modified, and it played “Lili Marlene” whenever the honk was pushed. The entertainment features were upped to a totally different level with a load of new devices including a Philips Auto-Mignon AG2101 record player, a Philips tape player, a radiotelephone that has its own number, and a Sony television. The Sony TV seldom worked properly because the reception was bad, so John had most of his fun by speaking to the public via a microphone that was installed in the car and attached to a set of external speakers. Paul McCartney recounted that John and his other bandmates really enjoyed playing with the microphone and blasting off the speakers with weird sounds to pull pranks on people.

Rolls Royce Phantom V interior backseat

The rear seat was transformed into a massive double bed

In 1966, the black Phantom was seriously damaged after John drove the car to Spain and shot his movie “How I Won the War” there. Therefore, John Lennon decided to have his car drawn and painted in vivid Romany flowers and patterns as a chance to show his sneer towards the rigid British high society. And the day at which the car was picked up, the reaction of the public was more or less of what John Lennon expected. Besides the press that tailed him for the latest news, local police officials announced that the “shrieking yellow” would pose as a dangerous distraction to other road users, and an old lady hit the car with an umbrella, angry with what happened to a supposedly prestigious Rolls-Royce.

Jonh Lenno sitting on his Rolls Royce Phantom V

The new exterior of the Phantom V received a lot of reactions from people, both good and bad

Unfortunately, from 1968 onward, John Lennon used another white Phantom V as his primary car, and the psychedelic Phantom V was somewhat a thing of the past. Then the car was rumoured to come with John Lennon to America and John donated the car to the Cooper-Hewitt Museum in New York in 1977. After his death in 1980, the car was put up for auction, and a Canadian billionaire purchased it for almost USD 3 million. The conservation of the vehicle has not been easy as the paint is extremely easy to be subject to damage, but people doing the conservation work are working their hardest to keep the relic of the great John Lennon alive and pristine.

John Lennon’s Phantom V kept at museum

John Lennon’s Phantom V is kept alive and pristine throughout all these years

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